You may, or may not have missed it, but yesterday, former CFL star Chris Williams was added to the New Orleans Saints practice squad. Many of you are probably wondering, who????
Let me help.
Williams played his college ball at New Mexico State with the Aggies from 2005-2008. He spent 4 seasons with them, and then opted for the draft in 2009. In his Senior Year, Williams caught 86 passes for 1,271 yards, and also tallied a kick return & punt return for a touchdown. Williams went undrafted, and then signed by the Miami Dolphins on April 30, 2009. He was later released on August 25th as part of an injury settlement.
After the Dolphins, Williams found a short stint with the Browns practice squad on November 9, 2009, but was released 9 days later.
What possibly made him attractive? He posted a 4.28 second 40-yard dash time at the 2009 combine.
After the release by the Browns, it took Williams a little bit of time to find some work. He signed a deal with the CFL Hamilton Tiger-Cats practice squad on October 18, 2010, but was released two weeks later.
It wasn’t until May 18, 2011 that Williams would catch his break, as he was re-signed by the Tiger-Cats. In his 2011 Rookie Season, Williams played in 15 games, named a divisional all-star, and announced as the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie.He led the team in receiving yards with 1,064 yards on 70 catches, and added 6 touchdowns.
2012 is when things really caught fire for Williams, as he caught 83 passes for 1,298 yards, and 11 touchdowns. That’s not the best part however, as Williams fielded punt return duties, and had a 14.3 yard average on 78 punt returns for 1,117 yards. He set a CFL record for return touchdowns in a single season.
After that outstanding season, Williams and the Ti-Cats had a falling out surrounding his contract, as he stated he did not wish to return at less than $50,000/year.
You might have seen Williams before, but never knew it.
Katherine Terrell of NOLA.com wrote a great article around Williams adjusting to NFL life, be sure to check it out.
"Williams got married Tuesday, finished off a long legal battle Wednesday with his former team, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League, and was headed south by Thursday evening.So he’s had few moments to catch some sleep.“I slept a little on the plane (Thursday) night, but I was just excited to get out here and practice with the guys,” he said.Williams said he felt “pure joy” upon hearing he would be signing with the Saints and heading back to the United States.“Me, my wife and kids, we’re just excited for a new opportunity and a new start,” said Williams, a Forth Worth, Texas, native."
WR Saalim Hakim was waived to make room for Williams. It’s unclear as to how the Saints will use him, but they were one of the first to jump on him once he was declared eligible to sign with any NFL team. You could make the argument that with Darren Sproles’ workload increasing, that the Saints are looking at potential options to replace him. One thing is for sure, with his punt returning skills, it makes him a nice option should he be needed down the road. We just hope there’s nothing seriously wrong with Lance Moore at this point.